Hawaii’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program was established in 1972. This program is federally funded and provides nutritious foods and other benefits to low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children that pose a nutritional risk. There is a WIC office on each Hawaiian Island in order to better provide services to residents of the state. Before visiting an office for an initial application, however, you must call the office to schedule an appointment. Walk-in applications are generally not accepted in Hawaii.
The WIC program has several eligibility requirements that you should familiarize yourself with in order to determine whether or not you may be eligible for benefits and gain an understanding of the documentation that you will need to provide alongside your application. Should you be approved for the program, it is important to learn more about the benefits that are provided, including checks that can be used for authorized foods and what those food items are. Get an overview of WIC requirements and application procedures when you download our comprehensive guide.
What are the WIC requirements in Hawaii?
Before asking, “Where is a Hawaii WIC office near me?” it is important to learn more about the eligibility requirements that must be met in order to receive program benefits. As stated previously, WIC is designed to provide aid to qualifying women, infants and children. Therefore, in order to be eligible for benefits, you must be:
- A woman who is currently pregnant.
- A woman who is breastfeeding, up to the infant’s first birthday.
- A woman who is not breastfeeding, up to six months after the end of a pregnancy.
- Infants and children who are under the age of five years old.
While fathers, grandparents and other caregivers may not apply for themselves, these individuals may still apply for benefits for a child that may qualify for assistance.
WIC eligibility requirements also nutritional risk, residency and income related requirements. While a state program is established in every state, in order to apply for benefits in Hawaii, you must be a resident of one of the Hawaiian Islands.
You must also be considered to have low income. Income limits are reestablished each year as limits are based upon the current federal poverty line. However, it is possible to automatically meet income related requirements. If you are currently receiving help from another state assistance program, such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, you will automatically meet income qualifications.
Finally, WIC qualifications also require that an applicant possesses a nutritional risk. Nutritional risk can be caused by a number of medical or dietary conditions. You may have a nutritional risk if you are underweight, overweight, have a poor diet or if you have a medical condition such as anemia or a history of poor pregnancy outcomes.
How to Apply for WIC in Hawaii
In Hawaii, a WIC application can only be submitted by appointment in person at a local office. As stated previously, each Hawaiian Island has at least one office. When learning how to apply for WIC, it is also important to know that you will need to bring your qualifying children and documentation with you to your initial appointment in order for staff to assess whether or not you or your children are eligible for benefits.
Therefore, WIC online applications and by mail applications are currently not available within the state. If you have a disability that may interfere with your ability to visit an office, it is strongly recommended that you contact your local office in order to inquire about additional options that may be available to you.
What can you get with WIC in Hawaii?
Hawaii WIC offers an abundance of benefits to qualifying women, infants and children, including:
- Special checks that can be exchanged for nutritious food items that are essential for healthy growth and development.
- Breastfeeding information and support.
- Nutrition and health education and guidance.
- Referrals to other community programs that a family may qualify for, including medical services.
Studies have shown that WIC benefits can prevent serious health problems for children that would otherwise not meet nutritional needs as well as aid pregnant women in their pregnancies. Pregnant women who are enrolled in the program have shown to have longer pregnancy, fewer premature births and fewer fatal or infant deaths.
WIC checks are issued on a monthly basis. Each check will specify a food category with a dollar amount to be put towards the purchase of these types of foods. Therefore, tracking your remaining food balance is easy. Each check will also include a start and end date. You may not use a check prior to the start date and benefits will expire at midnight on the last day of the month as they do not roll over onto the following month. Depending on your age, category and special needs, you may be eligible for checks related to the purchase of:
- Whole grain products.
- Breakfast cereal.
- Peanut butter.
- Baby foods and formulas.
- Canned fish.
When using WIC benefits, it is important to review authorized food information carefully. Each type of food will have rules and restrictions related to factors such as brands and additive ingredients. For example, if you are eligible to purchase canned light tuna, you may not purchase organic tuna, Albacore or Fancy Tuna brands, products in pouches or snack packs or products that have added flavors and spices.
How to Prepare for a WIC Appointment in Hawaii
Your Hawaii WIC appointment must be attended before any benefits can be issued. You will be required to bring any potentially qualifying children with you to your appointment as well as a number of documents that will support the information that you provide on your application. When applying for the WIC program, you must be able to provide staff with the following:
- Proof of all household income, such as with pay stubs, leave and earning statements or a letter from your employer
- Proof of identity, such as with a driver’s license or state identity card
- Proof of address, such as with a utility bill, rent receipt or mortgage agreement
- The immunization record for each of your children that you are applying for
During your WIC appointment, you will receive further information about the program, including how to utilize benefits and eligibility requirements. Staff will also review each applicant’s height, weight and diet. In some cases, a simple blood test may be required in order to check for conditions such as anemia. To learn more about how to navigate your WIC appointment, download our helpful guide.
How to Check Your WIC Balance in Hawaii
Hawaii WIC checks are distributed on a monthly basis. Each check will be for a specific food category and include the maximum dollar amount that can be used with your purchase. You do not need to use all of your checks in one transaction. Reviewing your WIC balance is simple as you can review the types of checks that you have remaining at any time in order to determine your remaining food balance. As stated previously, benefits do expire on the last day of each month, so it is important to use your checks prior to that date.